Talking with people is always an interesting experience, especially with my children. Some days the interactions flow out like milk and honey and other days I'm left feeling like I just stepped in milk and honey!
Recently when trying to have a discussion with my husband, one of my children uninvitedly chimed in. Instead of correcting him with patience and refinement, I responded with my normal vice, sarcasm. I would love to say that all of my interactions and responses are filled with thoughtful words, but they're not. I'm human and my children are too.
Me - "If I wanted your two cents I would have asked for it..."
Son - "I have more than two cents, I have almost a whole dollar!"
Sadly, my sarcasm has now been passed down to my children! And although his words may be somewhat humorous now, it was a wake-up call I needed to hear .
Could it be possible that the way I communicate can affect other people's reaction?
I think communicating properly is important, but it is definitely something that I've had to learn along the way. Being a reactor, it's not always easy for me to gain composure in conversations that don't revolve around pleasantries. And variables such as fatigue, overextension and frustration can also contribute to poor exchanges. Moreover, my son's words reminded me that even when we have more than two cents to add, like he clearly did, (almost a whole dollar...,Really?) we probably shouldn't add it in.
*DISCLAIMER-He always has something to add! He just can't help himself! His words are like the gift that keeps on giving!
I, too, have been prone to let uninvited words escape me and then regret it later. His response to me was a good warning for what's to come when our remarks come through in a mocking tone; they clash, combust and proceed to turn into an epic communication failure. Face to face interactions aren't the only way to make this happen, other times poor communication can come from ignoring what someone else is saying altogether. Sometimes an unanswered text or phone call can be just as insulting as an overzealous respond. Hiding behind our phones and laptops is easier to do these days and doesn't always produce the most fruitful results. It's easy to type snarky remarks and then put a happy face emoji next to it! I know because I've done it! However, I also know that's not my best so I have to think ahead to how I want a conversation to evolve. Do I want to leave it feeling good about the interaction or disappointed? It's a choice we all make on a daily basis.
"I want my words to leave people feeling uplifted, not defeated. "
When communication is done right, the words add value to what's being said and usually the response is an appreciated one. I've found that when I trade in my sarcasm for respect, communication unfolds at its best. My words can lift, encourage, rebuild, and show empathy to those around me, if I choose them wisely. If not, I'm left with those sticky feelings and empty pockets, wishing the two cents I had, was still in there.
Some days will be harder than others and some people will be harder than others and yet what I've found is that it's always worth the effort to try, even if it's not done flawlessly. My willingness to keep perfecting this skill that doesn't always come natural to me is more important than failing at it from time to time because in the end I know that words have power, even the unspoken ones.
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."